Date of Award

Winter 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Studies

Committee Director

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Charlene E. Fleener

Committee Member

Alice Wakefield


Founded in 1994, Voyager Expanded Learning is a provider of K-3 in-school reading programs, as well as K-8 reading intervention programs for school districts throughout the United States. Voyager Universal Literacy's systematic, precise framework fully addresses the five elements of reading instruction, through an explicit succession of ability growth. Voyager Universal Literacy was developed to be a comprehensive program encompassing the subsequent requisites: in-school broad reading program, progress monitoring methods, extensive-day and summer activities, home learning syllabus, implementation monitoring, and on-going professional development. Voyager Universal Literacy Program activities are organized to provide a thorough range and progression for reading instruction.

The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of the Universal Voyager Literacy Program on reading achievement and teacher instructional practices in an urban school district, and to determine the extent to which this impact varies across Title I and non-Title I schools and student gender.

Results indicated that students in the Universal Voyager Literacy Program performed similarly compared to students in non-Voyager programs in terms of reading test scores. Although the main effect was not significant, there was a significant interaction between program and Title I status. Title I students performed better in Voyager schools; whereas, students in non-Title I schools performed better in non-Voyager schools.

Observations occurred during the reading block and lasted approximately 40 minutes. The observation focused on classroom environment and teacher instructional strategies. The literacy environment in the classrooms of the Voyager Program teachers and the non-Voyager Program teachers were very similar. During informal classroom observations, the researcher witnessed varying levels of student/teacher interaction and student engagement. Additionally, teachers' instructional behaviors differ from classroom to classroom. For instance, several teachers utilized strategies that required student conversation—such as “turn and talk”; “think-pair and share”; student/teacher reading conferences. Whereas, in two other classrooms the “direct instruction” practice was utilized—where the teacher was the primary voice in the room. The teacher lectured and then released students to practice independently at their desks. Very little student/teacher interaction occurred during the observation.

Future research studies which focus on the relationship between program implementation and student outcomes are recommended. Additionally, an examination of student performance on a wider range of assessment instruments should be used to help researchers determine which of the five key areas of reading acquisition are most impacted by the Voyager program.